In the Media

Felicia Boots: Judge refers to 'indescribably sad case'

PUBLISHED October 30, 2012

This is an almost indescribably sad case. Although the result of Mrs Boots' actions were profoundly tragic given the loss of two such young lives, what occurred was not what most people would recognise as criminal activity.

I unreservedly accept that what the defendant did to the two children, she and her husband so loved and nurtured, was solely the result of psychiatric and bio-physiological factors that were truly beyond her control.

This case is the polar opposite of some of the appalling cases of child neglect and cruelty that sometimes come before our courts.

It is of note that Mrs Boot's brother had a history of depression that led to his suicide at the age of 29.

Mrs Boots suffered from serious post natal depression following the birth of her first child, Lily.

There is no suggestion that her relationship with her first child was anything other than loving and caring.

This is someone who delighted in being a mother and by all accounts was very good at it.

The second child was born soon afterwards and she descended into anxiety, depression and self doubt which increased in its intensity and debilitations and the level of paranoia increased.

She became withdrawn, although I expect the real extent of her mental state was partly hidden from her husband and immediate family.

Mrs Boots simply stopped taking her medication because she was breast feeding and she was irrationally worried about the consequences for him. (her son)

On the morning of this tragedy she became fixated and deluded that her children were to be taken away and she decided I am sure to end her own life. She killed her children and she attempted suicide.

This is someone who suffered from a depressive disorder or illness. It is well known that women with this condition may represent a significant harm to children.

Given the extent to which her judgements were deluded. In the words of her doctor, "She knows what she did, but she can't understand why." Her judgment was simply not functioning.

A prison sentence would be hugely inappropriate in this case. It would serve no useful purpose. Given that these are not offences that call for punishment you are not to be dealt with by a term of custody. I am persuaded that the mental disorder is of a nature that makes it appropriate for her to be detained in a hospital.